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Conference Paper

How do people memorize and recall spatial knowledge within their city of residency?


Meilinger,  Tobias
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Meilinger, T. (2015). How do people memorize and recall spatial knowledge within their city of residency? In H. Skov-Petersen (Ed.), Conference on Human Mobility, Cognition and GISc (pp. 12-13). Copenhagen, Denmark: University of Copenhagen: Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-8201-B
People use “route knowledge” to navigate to targets along familiar routes and “survey knowledge” to determine (by pointing, for example) a target’s metric location. We examined within which coordinate systems route and survey knowledge is represented in memory. Data suggests that navigators memorize survey knowledge of their city of residency (Fig1) within a single, north-oriented reference frame learned from maps. (1). However, when they recall this knowledge while located within the city, they spontaneously adjusted this knowledge towards their current body orientation and location relative to the recalled area – probably to have the information ready for later action (2). Contrary to survey knowledge, route knowledge of one’s home city was memorized in different representations relying on multiple, local, street-based coordinate systems presumably learned from navigation. (3). When recalling this knowledge to plan a route, navigators concentrate on turns and employ a “when-in-doubt-follow-your-nose” default strategy in order to not get lost (4). Taken together, our results suggest that people coordinate multiple representations of their surrounding environment and adjust these to their current situation.